This coming Sunday at 4 p.m., the West Virginia Legislature will meet in special session to consider flood-relief measures for the southern part of the state - and for a look at the state's finances in general. Lawmakers must find a way to bridge the funding gap until video-lottery revenue arrives.
Legislators approved the legalization of 9,000 video-lottery machines and upped the maximum bet at racetrack machines from $2 to $5, anticipating millions in news revenues.
But passing the law authorizing those things didn't mean they would be implemented immediately, even though anticipated funds from those sources have already been plugged into the budget. Now lawmakers have to figure out what to do in the meantime.
The front-runner among various plans is the idea of borrowing $20 million to $40 million from national tobacco-settlement funds to pay for expenses at the beginning of the fiscal year. Administration Secretary Greg Burton said the money would be returned when the new lottery revenue begins to flow.